Jiu Jitsu: What to Expect


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First: What is it?

Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport that ends when one contestant submits another through grappling. It requires strength, quickness, technique, endurance, and strategy,  necessitating one to be able to think ahead of one’s movements.

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It’s like trying to untie yourself from multiple moving knots that you have never seen– while trying to tie your own–after you have pushed yourself to your physical limits.

I’ve often heard Joe Rogan comment on it saying, “It’s high level problem solving with dire physical consequences.” I think that is a reasonable description, but I can see how the “dire physical consequences” bit would push some people away from it.

Don’t let that discourage you.

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What to expect

I took– unwittingly– an uncommon approach to my first lesson, so my experience is probably an atypical one. I went to an open mat session instead of going to curriculum and learning the basics. Here are some thoughts I can pass on to somebody thinking about giving it a try.

  1. Go to a reputable gym, one that has an atmosphere focused on learning and growth
  2. You’re going to be nervous– deal with it. 
  3.  You need a mouth guard (obvious but easy to forget)
  4. The gi is a very tough fabric, and you will sweat a lot in it. Moreover, it is a tool that you can use and that can be used against you.
  5. Unless you are a  wrestler already, you will be exhausted fairly quickly, regardless of the shape you are in
  6. Your mind will be overwhelmed for the entire session
  7. You will be humbled within minutes
  8. There will be a lot of “aha moments”
  9. You will feel better about yourself when you leave, even if you get your butt whooped the entire time
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If you are looking for a different kind of workout, or you are looking for something to challenge you mentally and physically, I would say that you should definitely give it a try.

It’s not easy, but that which is worthwhile rarely is.


Have you done Jiu Jitsu before? If so, what do you enjoy about it? What would you recommend to a beginner?




Time Restricted Eating: Does it work?

Although traditional reduced-calorie diets are a very science-based way to lose weight, intermittent fasting is a good alternative that studies suggest is just as beneficial for losing weight” –Sai Das, PhD

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Time-restricted eating is eating within a specified time-frame each day. Sometimes people refer to it as fasting, and it is popular in many health and wellness circles and some religions.

  It does not require one to change the foods he or she eats; it simply requires the food to be consumed  within a shorter time frame.

Although, research seems to suggest that placing that window earlier in the day is more beneficial because our blood sugar control and metabolism are generally better in the morning.  Regardless, time-restricted eating means fasting for a large part of the day and allowing oneself a minimized period of feeding.

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There is a trending consensus that time restricted eating causes fat loss. The fat-loss theory in time-restricted eating is analogous to  lending money to somebody and then collecting interest on it every day.

You sacrifice for a period of time (no food to go into a fasted state), you get it all back (your window of time that you can eat), plus you benefit more because of the delay/sacrifice (your increased fat-burning).

In theory and analogy it is a wonderful idea. But what does the research say?

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Moro et al. (2016) found that males with a background in resistance training –and that fasted for 16 hours a day–decreased their fat levels and maintained their muscle mass while maintaining the same caloric intake; those that had a background in training and maintained a regular eating schedule did not reduce their fat levels. Similarly, a pilot study on women found a significant decrease in fat for women who were involved in resistance training and followed a time-restricted diet (Smith, LeSarge, & Lemon, 2017). Although those in the women’s resistance training group maintained muscle mass while decreasing fat, the other groups did not have the same benefits; they experienced an overall weight loss, which included muscle.

A scientist from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) – Sai Das, PhD—has commented on intermittent fasting, stating “Although traditional reduced-calorie diets are a very science-based way to lose weight, intermittent fasting is a good alternative that studies suggest is just as beneficial for losing weight” (The Buzz on Intermittent Fasting, 2017). She goes on to note that there have not been many scientific studies comparing the different intermittent regimens, so there is not a clear  amount of fasting that one should follow; moreover, Das reminds readers to avoid overcompensating during feeding times.

Much more experimental, long-term studies have been done on animals, resulting in better research and substantiated conclusions.

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In a popular Youtube video—linked below in the references–  Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses the immense benefits of fasting on mice, referencing work by Dr. Satchidananda Panda. Moreover, Dr. Patrick gives her own anecdotes, stating she has experienced an increase in cardiovascular benefits. Other suggested  benefits of intermittent fasting may include: cognitive enhancement and an overall increase in health biomarkers.

To me, the evidence suggests that time-restricted eating can be beneficial– especially for those that are already on a workout plan.

Whether the weight loss and/or fat burning caused during time restricted eating is as effective for those living a sedentary lifestyle, it is difficult to say; people could unintentionally cut calories during the fasting time– that and food choices are factors that must be controlled for in larger future human studies. Moreover, although food choices were not mentioned, it is still important to eat as healthy as possible. One should not expect great results while eating horrible foods daily. 

If you are looking for an alternative to cutting a bunch of calories, time-restricted eating seems to be a safe and more practical way to attempt to reach your goal.

Although I have provided some research on the subject, please do your own and draw your own conclusions. I will be giving the fasting a try, limiting myself to food for 10 hours a day to start.


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Moro, T., Tinsley, G., Bianco, A., Marcolin, G., Pacelli, Q. F., Battaglia, G., & … Paoli, A. (2016). Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males. Journal Of Translational Medicine, 141-10. doi:10.1186/s12967-016-1044-0

Smith, S. T., LeSarge, J. C., & Lemon, P. R. (2017). Time-Restricted Eating in Women – A Pilot Study. Western Undergraduate Research Journal: Health & Natural Sciences, 8(1), 1-6. doi:10.5206/wurjhns.2017-18.3

The Buzz on Intermittent Fasting: Studies suggest intermittent fasting regimens can help with weight loss. But, long-term adherence and health benefits are uncertain. (2017). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 4.

Youtube interview– Joe Rogan & Rhonda Patrick:

Youtube interview– Rhonda Patrick & Satchin Panda

Worthwhile Purchases for Beginning Marathoners


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1.A race ticket ($20-$100)

This one is the most important and most obvious. If you purchase the ticket to run in a race, you are more likely to train for said race. The biggest obstacle to training is lack of motivation; a set date will keep you on schedule.


2. Training shoes ($50-$120)

You can run in regular athletic shoes– for a while–but at some point you will want/need to invest in something more sport-specific— running shoes. Go to your local runner’s store to find out about different shoes and about your specific needs for your feet.

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3. A GPS watch ($75-$250)

Now this isn’t necessary, but the article isn’t called “Necessary Purchases…” I am speaking from experience: having a GPS watch, specifically one with music built in, is a worthwhile investment. 



4. Clothing and anti-chafing remedies ($30-$200)

You can get away with regular workout clothes if you have them; however, once you start to hit those high miles, when it is humid and  near 80 degrees when you wake up, you will want the shorts, tops, and socks that minimize chafing.

Have you ever had to place tape over your nipples, had your thighs chafe, or your lats irritated to death for hours by the movement of an ill-fitting shirt?

You can get decent items from Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Ross for a bargain, or you can spend tons on the newest stuff out. Make it fit your budget.

Even with all that, you will have problems. To reduce the friction, use something like: BODY GLIDE– LOOK IT UP! I’ve found that coconut oil works well, too. 

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5. Compression wear ($30-$100)

Compression wear is beneficial for post-workouts, when your body is sore and recovering; or you can wear it during the work out. The idea is the same: to minimize recovery time and increase comfort. Knee and calf-sleeves are my go-to’s.



6. Foam roller ($30)

A foam roller and muscle roller massage stick are going to be your best friends after a lot of your runs. They are beneficial for, well, your muscles– of course. Check out some Youtube videos if you haven’t seen them before. Well worth the money.



7. A training program (FREE)

If you want, you can spend a good chunk of change on a plan and diet, but I wouldn’t do that if this is your first rodeo. It can be tough enough to stay on schedule, especially when the miles pick up. Find a reputable training program online for free and stick to it; also, join a forum if you are lost. There is a lot of free, quality information out there.

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8. Gels ($25 for a large box)

Not necessary, but definitely useful on those longer runs. There are alternative ways to create your own in-run snacks, but I find the gels to be perfectly sized and practical. Throw a few in your pockets before a long run; you won’t regret it. 




These are not all necessary purchases in the beginning– and a few you do not need at all– so don’t be too put off by the numbers; however, marathon training is an investment– in time and money. You want to make it as comfortable and practical a process as possible.

It is worth it in the end, and you will be a better person for taking on the challenge and completing it.